Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tea exchange I

I joined a great tea exchange initiative and yesterday I received the first package. I'm very excited about the contents. 

Starting from the top left corner, there are: 
  • Desert tea (green tea and Damascus rose petals) from House of Tea, Belgrade
  • Honeybush Tropical Night tea (honeybush, papaya, mango with kiwi, guava and rose flower flavours) from Smalltree, Belgrade 
  • Lovers tea (black tea, apple, cinnamon and ginger) from House of Tea, Belgrade
  • Green tea, Sir Winston Tea
  • Wild strawberry, Welton and 
  • Apple and cinnamon, Welton.

So far, I have only had a chance to taste the Lovers tea. I am not familiar with Welton and Sir Winston Teas, but House of Tea and Smalltree from Belgrade are traditionally good. 

I'm looking forward to tasting all these teas. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Origins and types of tea

For a better image resolution, go here. Kudos to the author. Great work!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tea Giveaway

If you feel lucky, you can participate in the giveaway organized by SororiTea Sisters. They offer some of the Butiki teas.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gaba Tea from Taiwan

I'm excited because yesterday I received a sample of Gaba tea from a company called Tea from Taiwan.

Gaba tea is relatively new. It was invented in 1987 in Japan. Gaba tea is praised for its long list of health benefits attributed to the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) it contains. Some of the benefits include relieving anxiety, preventing PMS, stabilising blood pressure and stimulating fat burning. The key to the composition of this tea is that it is exposed to nitrogen, not oxygen during processing.

After opening the bag I was excited to see that it is not broken, but that it looks quite a bit like standard gunpowder tea. The leaves show some glossiness and I like how they seem to have kept freshness.

Than I went to prepare the tea. The difficulty I had was that the producer did not say how much tea is required for one tea cup, so I did it the usual way of adding a teaspoon per cup. It is recommended that it brews in hot water (95 C) for 3 minutes. A clay pot should be used, but I brewed mine in a glass pot. 

You can see the result in the pictures below. The colour is light brown, having more yellow hints than I expected in the first minute after brewing. The tea gets green undertones when cold. 

It tastes great. It is mild and refreshing with subtle floral notes. Adding sugar or any form of sweetener has not even crossed my mind. I will be recommending this tea to everybody, especially those avoiding to drink green or black tea due to their bitterness. 

The same tea can be brewed 3 to 4 times, which is a great advantage. I brewed the same leaves twice and I could not detect any difference in flavour.

I hope you'll be able to try this tea and let me know what you think.

Teas on the menu these days

I do have a penchant for teas. While I like adding new flavours all the time, green and black tea are always there. You can see following teas on my shelf these days.

I am new to Kusmi teas, but I can only say praise for Prince Vladimir. It contains a blend of black teas that is flavoured with citrus fruit, vanilla and various spices like cinnamon. So wintery, but also fresh and mild.

In the middle of the picture you can see a flavoured green tea produced by an Italian company called Blend. This is a great tea and currently one of my favourites. It is a mixture of Sencha and Oolong teas with cranberry and vanilla pieces.

Last week I received my order of five different Pu-erh (spelled pu'er as well) teas from Teavivre. Pu-erh  is a kind of fermented tea that has a very intensive flavour. The variety pictured below is from Yunan province, which is considered a home of some of the best Pu-erh teas. This is definitely a novelty in the world of teas for me. I am still getting used to the flavour. At the first taste I could notice overpowering herbal (maybe straw) and earthy tones. I am looking forward to learning more about these teas.

Apart from the flowering tea that I brought from Vietnam, you can see a red tin from A. C. Perch's Thehandel (one of the famous Danish tea stores) in the following picture. It currently holds a great blend of herbal teas: lemon grass, licorice and pear. In the left side of the picture you can see the beautiful china tea jar that was a gift from a friend of mine. There is some Vietnamese green tea with jasmine in it at the moment.

The last picture shows another green tea with jasmine. It's from a German company called Eilles. It was a gift from a friend of mine. I like this tea a lot - rarely good green tea infusion. Here is also some Russian Earl Grey that I still haven't tasted. Finally, a tea in a very interesting box that I bought in an ethnic store around the corner from my apartment. It is a green tea from Saudi Arabia that for me represents a standard, full-flavoured green tea. It is very strong so I usually take less than the recommended 2 g per cup when brewing. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

An instant guide through the world of teas

[Image by Flickr user mpieracci and used under the Creative Commons license.]
I am reposting this rather nice article about tea that contains all the essentials. The article is originally titled Grad Student’s Guide to Good Tea and it was found here.

Look, coffee is great and all, but it just doesn’t hold a candle to the variety and flexibility of tea. I am a dyed in the wool tea drinker, and I can’t write a word without a cuppa. But tea can be tricky; just choosing the generic bagged tea off the shelf rarely results in a triumphant tea experience. Recently, we at GradHacker have posted guides for wine and coffee, and it is high time that delicious teas were given their due.
Technically, all you need to make tea is hot water and a mug. Pour the water over the leaves (or the bag, if you choose to ruin tea forever), wait a minute, and voila! Delicious tea. However, having a few key pieces of equipment on hand will make your tea experience even better.
Tea Infuser: When drinking looseleaf tea, you need a way to immerse the leaves in the water without ending up with a mug full of sludge. There are a wide variety of infusers, from simple mesh balls to infuser spoons to infusers shaped like the Death Star. The kind of infuser you choose will depend on the type of tea you tend you prefer, as well as your own personal style. There are also teapots with infusers already in them, which are convenient, especially if you drink more than one cup at once, or are brewing for company.
Tea Kettle: Although you can boil your water in a pot on the stove, or stick your mug of water in the microwave, you a tea kettle can boil your water faster and will taste fresher. Electric or stove top are both good options, depending on what space you have!
Storage Tins :Airtight storage tins will keep your tea delicious longer, as tea generally loses flavour after 6 months. These are a must, particularly if you are only an occasional tea drinker. Teavana has many different sizes to suit your tea needs.
Timer: Different teas need to steep for different lengths of time. If a tea is steeped for too long, then it will become bitter or overpowering. Have a small kitchen timer on hand to make sure that you brew your tea just right!
Mug: You have to put the tea somewhere. May I suggest this BatMug?
Understanding your Tea
True teas are brewed from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, and contain small amounts of caffeine. The different varieties result from the ways that this plant is processed, blended, and prepared. White, green, oolong, and black teas are all examples of true teas. Herbal teas do not contain these leaves, and are instead made from a mix of other plants and herbs. Herbal teas are rarely caffeinated. Mate are high caffeine teas made from the yerba plant, which is actually a species of holly.
Loose leaf teas are generally preferable to bagged teas because they contain fuller leaves of higher quality, which leads to a more robust flavour, and are a must for any serious tea drinker.
Types of Tea
There are a number of different types of tea for you to try. Each kind of tea carries different benefits and tastes, and each tea should be brewed slightly differently.
Black teas are probably the teas that you are the most familiar with, and include English Breakfast, Orange Pekoe, Earl Grey, and Darjeeling. These are full bodied, strong teas with a small caffeine kick!
Brew Time: 2-3 minutes
You should try: Earl Grey Creme from Teavana
Green teas are light and delicious, and contain a host of health benefits, including anti-oxidants. It is delicious as iced tea, or with a splash of honey.
Brew Time: 1-2 minutes
You should try: Vanilla Green from Adagio
White teas are subtle, with delicate flavours that are great for mixing. They should be prepared with water that is not quite boiling.
Brew Time: 1-2 minutes
You should try: Drum Mountain White Cloud Tea from The Tea Table
Oolong teas, in addition to being delicious, contain small amounts of caffeiene, are often part of weight loss programs, and are the kind of tea you will most likely be served in Chinese Restaurants.
Brew Time: 2-3 minutes
You should try: Toasted Nut Brulee Oolong from Teavana
Chai teas are black teas which have been mixed with Indian spices, and are perfect during crisp fall weather. Chai teas are traditionally brewed in a pan of milk, but adding milk and sugar to your tea can get the same effect!
Brew Time: 3-4 minutes
You should try: Masala chai from Adagio
Herbal teas there are a wide variety of these, from sweet to spicy to fruity to chocolatey. These caffeine free teas are great before bed or when you’re feeling under the weather.
Brew Time: 5-6 minutes
You should try: CocoCaramel Sea Salt Herbal Tea from Teavana
Rooibos teas are a South African red herbal tea, and are caffeine free and delicious iced.
Brew Time: 5-6 minutes
You should try: Georgia Peach Rooibos from The Tea Table
Mate teas are flavourful teas that a stimulant similar to caffeine, providing you the same kick as a cup of coffee without side effects. They are a perfect breakfast tea.
Brew Time: 5-6 minutes
You should try: Raspberry Riot Lemon Mate Tea by Teavana
Make Your Own Flavours!
One of the very best things about tea is the flexibility to mix and match flavours and types of tea. As you drink more, you will get a sense of what different teas go well together. For example, I love mixing the herbalHoneybush Vanilla with a blackEnglish Breakfast tea. Adagio allows users to upload their favourite blends so that other tea drinkers can purchase them (I am particularly fond of the Captain America andTARDIS blends). Starting here can give you a good sense of tea blends before you start making your own!
So now that your tea is steeped, what kind of stuff should you put in it? For many people, the standard for tea is black, particularly for green or herbal teas. However, there are a number of options for tea-fixins. Most teas prefer milk instead of a heavy cream, especially black teas. Honey and sugar are often added for a little sweetness. I prefer German Rock sugar, which is a low calorie way to add a subtle flavour. Honey is also perfect for colds and sore throats. Likewise, lemon helps when feeling under the weather. Finally, brandy, because sometimes, you just need that extra kick.
So there you go! You are now fully equipped to begin enjoying the perfect cup of tea.
Do you have any suggestions not mentioned here? Let us know in the comments below.

Ads back in the days

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

To the point!

This make-up case carries a very important message!

From AB.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Liquid candy

Spare a few minutes to read this article. It is about insanely high quantities of sugar that can be found in some drinks. The article is about the US market, but the warning about sugary drinks applies worldwide.